Wigan come into their home game on Tuesday without centre-back Gary Caldwell who is suspended for the next three games after being sent off in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Emmerson Boyce is likely to partner Steven Caldwell at centre-back. James McCarthy could return to the starting line-up having been in the squad on Saturday for the first time since injuring his ankle in October.
He didn’t make it onto the pitch but with an extra couple of days training McCarthy could be ready to make a return.
Roberto Martinez may look to use Franco Di Santo in a two-man attack after scoring just two goals in their last four Premier League games.
Possible starting XI: Al Habsi; Stam, Boyce, S Caldwell, Gohouri; Watson, McCarthy, Diame, N’Zogbia; Di Santo, Rodallega.
Jean Makoun looks set to make his debut for the club following his transfer from Olympique Lyonnais. He wasn’t registered in time to play in Saturday’s 1-0 win against Manchester City but he will start the game as Houllier looks to add extra beef to his midfield.
Makoun will likely take Marc Albrighton’s place in an otherwise unchanged team.
New signing Darren Bent will continue to partner Gabriel Agbonlahor up-front as they look to secure back-to-back victories for the first time in the Premier League this season.
Possible starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark; Young, Makoun, Petrov, Downing; Agbonlahor, Bent.
More goals needed
If Wigan are to secure a much-needed win they are going to have to cause more of a threat going forward. This season in the Premier League they have scored less goals than anyone else, having breached their opponents' defences just 19 times in 23 league games.
Their top scorer this season is Hugo Rodallega with six goals and he is the only striker to have scored any goals for Wigan this season. Charles N’Zogbia and the injured Tom Cleverley have both scored three goals each.
Roberto Martinez’s options are limited however as record summer signing Mauro Boselli moved to Genoa on loan until the end of the season and Franco Di Santo has scored just one goal in his Premier League career.
Looking for improvement
Aston Villa are looking for their first back-to-back wins this season after beating title contenders Manchester City. Villa’s win on Saturday took them three points away from the drop zone but all the good work from Saturday could be for nothing if they lose to relegation rivals Wigan.
If Wigan beat them then the two teams will be level on points and Villa will again be perilously close to the drop zone. Villa have scored just nine goals this season but in Darren Bent they have a striker who has scored that many goals himself this season.